Who is the Pac-12 player of the year?
At the midpoint of the season, Oregon’s Payton Pritchard would be the runaway choice considering the senior point guard is providing leadership, scoring, clutch baskets and feistiness for arguably the league’s best team.
There’s still plenty of time for others to make it a race.
Here’s a ranking of the top three contenders:
1. McKinley Wright, Colorado: Teammate Tyler Bey may steal POY votes away from Wright.
2. Tres Tinkle, Oregon State: The only player ranked among the top 10 in the conference in points (19.7, 2nd), rebounds (6.9, 9th), assists (3.9, 9th) and steals (1.9, 3rd).
3. Isaiah Stewart, Washington: It’s easy to see why he was at one the No. 1 high school recruit last year.
Isaiah vs. Zion
Stewart is keeping pace former Duke star Zion Williamson, who won the 2018-19 national player of the year award.
Through 15 games, the former Duke star averaged 20.2 points and 9.5 rebounds while posting seven double doubles.
Stewart is averaging 19.5 points and 9.1 rebounds and has accumulated eight double doubles.
Both players put up four 20-point and 10-rebound performances in their first 15 games.
Former Washington State guard Malachi Flynn is putting up nearly identical numbers during his first season with the No. 7 Aztecs as he did in his year with the Cougars.
However, the Tacoma standout is having a greater impact at SDSU and is garnering player of the year recognition.
Flynn, a 6-1 junior point guard, is averaging 15.9 points, 5.1 assists, 3.5 rebounds while shooting 43 percent on three-pointers.
The former WSU standout was named to the Wooden Midseason top-25 Watch list along with Pac-12 stars Stewart, Tinkle and Pritchard.
WEEK 2 Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. Oregon (Last week: 1) (12-3, 1-1): No one thought the Ducks would go undefeated in conference play. And there’s no shame in losing at Colorado, which is 9-0 at home versus Oregon. This week: Against Arizona and Arizona State.
2. Arizona (Last week: 2) (11-3, 1-0): The Wildcats head to Oregon where they’ve lost their last three games, including a 73-47 clunker last year. Arizona has dropped the past three games to the Ducks. This week: At Oregon and Oregon State.
3. Stanford (Last week: 5) (12-2, 1-0): The Cardinal have made the most of a favorable schedule that includes 10 home games. Not sure if Stanford is the third best team in the Pac-12, but the Cardinal have best scoring defense in the Pac-12 (58.3). This week: Against Washington and Washington State.
4. Colorado (Last week: 2) (12-3, 1-1): Shot 57.1 percent from the field to take a 63-52 lead against Oregon State with less than eight minutes left. However, the Buffs were outscored 24-5 the rest of the way while shooting 2 for 11 and committing six turnovers in an inexplicable 76-68 loss. This week: Against Utah.
5. Washington (Last week: 3) (11-4, 1-1): Aside from a lousy 34-24 first half against UCLA, UW outscored the LA schools 112-72. Freshman stars Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels account for 600 of UW’s 1,104 season points (54.4 percent) between points and assists This week: At Stanford and California.
6. Utah (Last week: 6) (10-4, 1-1): The Utes have the toughest start in Pac-12 play, which includes games against three ranked teams (No. 9 Oregon, No. 25 Colorado and No. 24 Arizona). This week: At Colorado.
7. Oregon State (Last week: 8) (11-3, 1-1): Need to find more offensive support for Tres Tinkle (17.8 ppg.) and Ethan Thompson (12.6). The Beavers are 8-0 when third-leading scorer Kylor Kelley tallies at least 10 points in double figures This week: Against ASU and Arizona.
8. USC (Last week: 7) (12-3, 1-1): Maybe the Trojans should get a mulligan for their 72-40 stinker at UW, which snapped a six game winning streak. This week: At UCLA.
9. Washington State (Last week: 9) (10-5, 1-1): Do yourself a favor and check out newcomer Isaac Bonton. The Montana State transfer put on a show while scoring eight points in overtime to lead the Cougars to a 79-71 win over UCLA. This week: At Cal and Stanford.
10. UCLA (Last week: 11) (8-7, 1-1): Mick Cronin will need time, but take heart Bruins fans. Ben Howland, the greatest UCLA coach since John Wooden, went 11-17 during his first year at Westwood. Then he made five straight trips to the NCAA tournament, including two Final Four appearances. This week: Against USC.
11. Arizona State (Last week: 10) (9-5, 0-1): The Sun Devils have lost three of their past four games. Scoring appears to be an issue. ASU is averaging just 52 points in its past four losses. This week: At Oregon State and Oregon.
12. California (Last week: 12) (6-8, 0-1): Have lost four straight. This week: Against WSU and UW.